“I’m always hopeful that we can negotiate, but I have a healthy amount of skepticism,” McCaul said in his speech on Thursday.
The Congressman commented on the Minsk declaration in response to a question about the likelihood of the its success, as previous peace deals have not been effective.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande met in the Belarusian capital of Minsk for almost 15 hours, and agreed on a declaration that contains practical measures to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
McCaul also pointed out that further expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) could lead to war.
“To try to get into the mindset of Mr. Putin, he sees NATO expansion as the biggest threat to Russia, and therefore he is fighting that,” McCaul said. “I tend to agree that, if we make Ukraine part of NATO, while it’s a noble aspiration, I think it will be a bit dangerous, because it almost automatically puts us at war with Russia.”
The crisis in Ukraine escalated to an armed confrontation in April after Kiev sent troops to Ukraine’s southeast to suppress the pro-independence forces there. Top Ukrainian officials, including President Petro Poroshenko, have accused Russia of directly interfering in the conflict, a claim that Moscow has repeatedly denied.